My parents went to Greece before I was born and brought back a great little cookbook. I consider this book to be the authoritative word on Greek cooking. Its Pasticio recipe (basically Greek lasagna) is the only one I like to use because it is so good. My dad was a Classics minor in undergraduate school, so he was thrilled when they got to see all the famous sites from the Classical Age of Greece. Alas, I have never been but hope to one day. When I was in middle school, I found a recipe for Stifado, or Greek Beef Stew. It has become a family favorite, topped with feta cheese, especially in the wintertime as it is a hearty meal. I love Gyros (I know this is really Turkish, but Greeks claim it too), Greek Salad, Stuffed Grape Leaves, and pretty much all Greek pastries. Whenever there is a Greek Festival in the city we are living in, I try to go to all those as well.

When I was in graduate school at University of St. Andrews, two of my best friends were Greeks. One was from Kefalonia (an island off the Ionian coast of Greece) and one was from Athens. The Kefalonian studied Social Anthropology and did her thesis on Laughter and Madness in Kefalonia, and the Athenian studied Art History and did her thesis on a Portuguese artist named (I think Maria Helena Vieira) da Silva. We also had three Greek Physicists on the floor below who frequently came up and had dinner with us. Living with them and learning about their culture and way of life was amazing. They were full of so much vitality and personality, kindness, hospitality (I know where I can stay if I ever make it there), and love. It is because of my Kefalonian “Effie Mou” (my Effie, mou being a term of endearment) that I eat zucchini because of her zucchini/courgette and feta pie, and Greek olives. She used to get these care packages with fresh cheese, olives, olive oil and grappa from back home that I just loved!

I recently found this website on Greek food and culture called Kalofagas, which means “gourmet” in Greek. It has some excellent recipes for Greek, Canadian, American, Indian, Italian, and Turkish food. The website has Non-traditional desserts like ice cream and this other ice cream and this gelato, as well as more traditional Greek fare such as Kunefe and the more interesting Artichoke Moussaka (for those like me who don’t like Eggplant).